Tuesday, May 22, 2007
If you haven't seen this episode yet, you'll probably not want to read any more of this. Spoilers ho!
So it looks like our musings and predictions from last week's posting weren't exactly correct. If the short scene at the end is to be believed, Ryan has gone from being a temp to upper management in less than two years. You have to wonder how long Michael can hold out as branch manager if his direct superior is someone who knows how lousy he is at his job.
Karen was either dumped off camera by Jim or has disappeared into a mass of her old friends in NYC never to be seen again. I'm not sure how either of those scenarios gets her off of The Office and on to her new show for next fall. Perhaps she'll be back for an episode or two at the beginning of next year to resolve this stuff.
And of course, Jam fans should be happy as long as they ignore the fact that Jenna Fischer (Pam) broke four bones in her back at a party last week. She'll allegedly be ready for the start of next season, but I hope she wasn't planning on doing anything during her hiatus.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
One thing I was intending to mention in that update is that you need to see Sweet Land when it comes out on DVD on July 7th. What does that movie have to do with Grey's Anatomy? It stars Elizabeth Reaser, the newly named Rebecca Pope (Eva, the amnesiac new mother from the ferry accident), as a German mail-order bride coming over to rural Minnesota after World War I. It's a wonderful character drama about what it means to be an outsider in a new environment, and is based on a short story by one of Meaghan's professors from Bemidji State. We saw it in last year's RIFG Film Festival and could not recommend it more.
We've tried occasionally mixing in new sauces or treats to try to entice her. That'll work the first couple of times we try it, but the novelty soon wears off. Other times, if we can get Scully (one of our cats) to show some interest in Zelda's food, Zelda will be protective enough to eat her meal.
The classic way to solve this problem is to show your dog that food is only available for a limited time by removing it after 10-15 minutes. This would be a good strategy except for the fact that Zelda has this awesome tendency to hork up disgusting digestive fluids if she hasn't eaten in awhile. Believe me when I say I've been woken up too many times in the morning by the sound of her stomach pumping juices out into our life.
Monday, May 14, 2007
In other postal news, the regular rate for mail has now gone up to 41 cents so there's even more reason to pay your bills online if you're not already. Additionally, the USPS is introducing this concept of the "Forever Stamp". You buy it now for 41 cents and it'll still be good no matter how high they raise the postage in the future, kind of like those gasoline co-ops where some lucky people locked in $1.00/gal prices some years ago. Only I don't know how many letters I'm really liable to be sending in my lifetime.
Rafting involves dodging various obstacles as you careen down a river on your trusty whitewater raft. I consider it to be the easiest event as it doesn't require any fast running action, but I teetered back on my heels at just the wrong time catching a board in the face which knocked me clean off into the river. That one mistake saddled me with an 82 for the event.
The NES thought long and hard about what to give me for the full run. After carrying the one and dividing by 17, it decided that my performace was worthy of an 89. I pleaded with it for awhile, but it just laughed at me, played some cheery music, and advanced on to the certificate screen.
Better luck next time!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Last night was a lot like that. We had the windows open to cool the place down, and she could hear the kids who were playing out in the street until at least 1:00 AM. Every ten minutes or so, she would walk over to the window and give a growl or a concerned bark at what was going on. She was never really excessive; it just happened a lot. Eventually it either got quiet enough out there or she just got too tired, so she passed out around 2:30 or 3:00. At least, that's the last time I remember seeing on the clock.
This morning was a lot better though. Some friendly people and their 3 dogs (a golden retriever, Chelsea, and two little terriers, mother Emmy and son Rogan) happened to be walking by when I was taking Zelda out for her morning pee in our new fenced-in yard. Everyone seemed to be hitting it off through the fence, so we decided to let them get together for an impromptu play date. After they established some quick boundaries, everyone had a great time fetching a tennis ball for 20 minutes or so. I got Ashley's (the dog owner) number so we'll hopefully be setting up more play dates with them in the future. I hear it costs $50 to get a dog park pass in Minneapolis, so it's a good thing our yard is so nice.
We took some quick measurements around the place, and found that we'll likely have to take some doors off of hinges when we move in. Even then, everything we bring will have to pass through a 28-in wide chokepoint right near our entrance. You gotta love older houses. Sounds like we'll have to spend some time either deconstructing some furniture beforehand or trading in some of our stuff for a newer, sleeker model. Suggestions?
I'm getting anxious to just get the move over with, even though I know we're far from having everything ready to go yet.
Friday, May 11, 2007
The 3 NBC shows were all "super-sized" again last night which generally means that they were all padded with extended sequences that would have likely been cut out of a normal length episode. It seems that TV comedy writers often have a difficult time coming up with more than 22 minutes of solid material a week.
That being said, I think My Name is Earl came through with the best show despite it typically being my least favorite of the three. The humor of Earl is often in the little things, so if there's enough of them in an episode I'll enjoy it even if the focus of the particular episode isn't as good. Best scene honors probably go to the fantastic "Robbing the Deaf!" flashback sequence when Earl realizes that Joy's deaf lawyer (Marlee Matlin) is on his list.
Joy finally had her trial for the truck she stole way back in the first episode of the season, and in true absurdist fashion she was represented by a deaf lawyer, a Chinese sign-language interpreter, and an African Mandarin interpreter. For the first time ever, I come away thinking about this show's soundtrack. The trial was highlighted by a montage scored with The Who's "Baba O'Riley" and Earl's long walk to his jail cell after confessing was accompanied by The Animals' fantastic rendition of "House of the Rising Sun". Thumbs up to the surprise reappearance of the always great Giovanni Ribisi (pictured) as Earl's new cellmate. It'll be interesting to see where they go with the show next year now that our main character is serving a two-year sentence.
The Office was good, but not as great as it's been in recent memory. I think the show always tends to suffer a bit when they leave the workplace environment, and the Survivor concept just wasn't funny enough to carry the whole episode. Jam backers (Jim + Pam) probably had a good time, though. I know Meaghan did. After walking across fire, Pam finally talked to Jim about the events from the end of last season. We've re-entered solid will they/won't they territory here, so hopefully it doesn't derail the show too much. Although as long as Dwight continues to be hilarious you won't see me complaining. He's always at his best when being put in his place by Michael. In this case, his place was curled up in the fetal position on a bed of hot coals.
Scrubs continues to stagnate a bit. Meaghan and I have been watching the first two seasons on DVD recently, and it's surprising how fresh and funny they are in comparison to the current episodes. At this point, it feels like the writers are largely servicing the characters that they've created. This tends to happen with most long-running comedies that I've watched (see Friends for a good example), but the good ones don't abandon their core elements in the process. Scrubs is all about over-the-top physical comedy, good music, lectures by Dr. Cox, and stories centered around the patients of Sacred Heart.
This week pretty much boiled down to J.D.'s current bout of woman trouble. Does he go back to Kim (the doctor he knocked up at the end of last season) or does he try to break up Elliot's engagement in an effort to rekindle their on-again/off-again relationship? Blah. J.D. has primarily been a good guy throughout the show, so the thought that he would even consider the second choice is a bit strange. Meaghan vows to be done with the show if he gets back together with Elliot. It seems that they've managed to overplay the classic will they/won't they aspect of the show.
Still to come: Grey's Anatomy
Feel free to chat about these or other shows from last night in the comments. I'm particularly interested in knowing if anyone watched the premiere of "Traveler". It was on after Grey's Anatomy, but we forgot to tape it. It stars Pyro from X-Men 2 and 3, and looked pretty interesting from the commercials. Apparently I'll get a second chance to catch this. They're going to re-air the pilot in it's regular timeslot Wednesday, May 30th at 9:00 Central on ABC.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
We're not allowed to use any maps or outside help. Since I know where nothing outside of Rochester is, I guess I know what I'll be studying for the next couple of weeks. What I need from you, gentle readers, are ideas for a team name. I'll be accepting entries until next Wednesday, May 16th at high noon. Submit your best and brightest ideas. If you came up with the chosen name, you'll win something great.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
In an effort to regain some of that, I'm installing a new regimen. I'll alternate simple calisthenics with cardio and couple that with rock climbing (Meaghan's vice) twice a week. Since I don't really enjoy running to get my heart rate up and I don't have a gym membership so I can't go swimming, I've decided to try to have some fun with this. That's right. I'm pulling out the good old Nintendo Power Pad. If my friend Brett can use Dance Dance Revolution to stay in shape then I can certainly do this.
The only game I have for it so far is Athletic World although I hope to get more. Attendees of my semi-regular Old School Game Nights probably remember this game with disgust, but I think it'll be a pretty useful tool. If you enter your age and sex the game scales the difficulty of the exercises for you. It also scores you based on how quickly you're able to complete each exercise, so I'll be able to track my progress objectively. There are five different exercises in all and they vary from running and jumping to crouching and hopping on one foot. It can be pretty hard on your quads and calves if you're trying to get a good score.
I'm only a Beginner so far, and my highest score is the 85/100 I achieved earlier tonight. I was pretty stoked as I even 100-pointed the "Dark Tunnel" which involves a lot of rapid running in place to get your character up some steep inclines. My goal is to get at least a 90 on Beginner before switching over to the Advanced level. Wish me luck.
I wish I had a scanner. If I did, I would show you that yesterday's prediction of a bunny being next came true. I couldn't help but laugh when the wolf-man bites the head off of some poor unsuspecting rabbit while roaming the countryside. You gotta love coincidences.
Anyway, my advice is to skip it. I'll try to talk about a better comic next time.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
On the brighter side, it's a good time to be a Detroit ex-pat in the real world. The Tigers are on an 8-game winning streak (take that Twins' fans) and the Red Wings are in the conference finals. Heck, there haven't even been any riots or fires there in quite awhile. At least, not in the city itself.
It turns out that I was looking at the wrong list of movies on Sunday when we were considering going to an earlier movie. For whatever reason, Google's first few results are for the festival from 5 years ago. Silly Google! If I had been looking at the right list, I probably would have wanted to go. It turns out that former Top 5er Sarah Polley's (Go, the Disney Channel's "Road to Avonlea") directorial debut Away from Her was showing. It's been getting rave reviews ever since Sundance and is on the short list of films that I currently want to see.
Luckily, it's coming next week to one of the art theaters in the big city. Since we're moving there soon, there should be a good chance we'll get to see it.
Anyway, the real reason I'm talking about this is because we learned two of my friend Mike's lifelong goals: 1) To beat Space Quest II 2) To play any of the Leisure Suit Larry games
As luck would have it, the all-consuming conglomerate Vivendi released some reasonably priced compilations just last year. Keep that in mind come birthday time, friends of Mike! Come to think of it, I would probably even like these. I have great memories of playing the first Space Quest on our trusty old Apple IIc back in the day.
Beware! Bad omens abound today. This morning before work I had to pick up not one, but two dead animals from our back yard. For those who have seen our yard you can agree with me that this is no small feat to pack that much death into such a tiny space.
The first victim was a squirrel that the missus noticed yesterday evening. It appears to have fallen out of the big honkin' tree in the middle of the yard and cracked itself on the ground. I blame the tree. That thing drops branches left and right, so it was probably only a matter of time before it started dropping squirrels. Either that or I'll have to come to grips with the fact that not all squirrels are coordinated enough to walk on branches in trees. I certainly couldn't do it.
Not more than five minutes later I found (with the help of Zelda's nose) a tiny little bird. I don't know what happened to this one, but it was pretty close to the garage. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
Monday, May 7, 2007
Things this blog will cover:
- The great work-at-home experiment (coming to a theater near you on 5/29/07)
- Life in the big city
- Things I watch (TV, movies [1997 Project and all]
- Things I read (books, comic or otherwise)
- Games I play (board, video, sports)
- Things I listen to (music, concerts)
- Things I care about (in the news or otherwise)
Why the Amber Tower? That's my little secret.